Agony, far more painful than yours

It’s an illusion to think we can avoid the line of fire. 

Agony cannot be inoculated against. No matter how many precautions we take, no matter how many islands of safety we seek, and no matter how lucky and blessed and abundant we feel, hurt comes for everybody. 

The hard part is growing our ability to extend compassion to all the uninvited visitors that inevitably enter. 

Here’s a scenario:

Imagine a lady on the bus accidentally steps on your toe with her stiletto heel while riding the bus. What do you do? 

Most of us would scream expletives and punch the back of the seat and stare down that old lizard for crushing our pinky. 

But how many of us would immediately put our arm around the woman’s shoulder and ask if her shoe is feeling okay? 

None of us. Nobody’s that compassionate. 

This is a highly improbable example, but it does challenge us to rethink our relationship to pain, and the people who cause it. 

Because when we’re hurting, the last thing on our minds is how the other person is feeling. 

But the irony is, sometimes the best way to reduce our pain is to get the hell out of the small, closed circle of the self and reach for the other. 


When was the last time you gave thanks for an unwelcome life obstacle?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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